Moving to Ontario from Saskatchewan: 6 Things to Know BEFORE You Move

Ontario vs. Saskatchewan: Moving from Saskatoon to Toronto

Moving to Ontario from Saskatchewan can be intimidating, so it’s important to know what to expect and plan ahead. While the province tends to come with higher costs, diverse job opportunities await, from major corporations to healthcare and education sectors.

After getting a feel for Ontario’s average home prices, the best places to live, and the largest employers, you’ll be better equipped to make the big move.

Cost of Living: Is Ontario More Expensive Than Saskatchewan?

Understanding the differences in housing prices and everyday costs in Ontario and Saskatchewan will be key as you navigate your move.

Cost of Living in Ontario

The cost of living in Ontario is considerably higher than in Saskatchewan, with expenses in major cities like Toronto and Hamilton reflecting a significant increase. Outside of the biggest cities and the Greater Toronto Area, though, there are areas that present affordability. Living costs in the Windsor area, for example, are far less than Ontario’s average and closer to Saskatchewan’s.

Living costs in Ontario are primarily tied to housing prices; the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is around $2,400 to $2,600, while in Windsor, a comparable apartment stands at $1,400 to $1,600.

The median home price across the province is approximately $875,000, while monthly food costs are about $445 per person. Before budgeting a move to Ontario, it’s crucial to account for these expenses.

Cost of Living in Saskatchewan

Meanwhile, the average house price in Saskatchewan is approximately $300,000, showcasing affordability compared to many other provinces, especially British Columbia and Ontario.

The unemployment rate is 4.5–5%, indicating a stable job market. Saskatchewan's provincial sales tax is 6%, which is lower than other provinces like Ontario and Quebec. Moreover, the average commute time within major cities is around 20 minutes, adding to the convenience and potentially reducing transportation expenses.

Home Prices in Saskatchewan

Aerial View of Willowgrove Neighbourhood in Saskatoon, SK

Saskatchewan is among the more affordable provinces in terms of housing, with average house prices falling in the $300s. Forecasts suggest that prices will rise over the next two years—but not as quickly as the national average.

Prospective buyers are prioritizing proximity to employment opportunities, affordability, and quality of life factors like access to green spaces, healthcare, and grocery stores.

Other factors affecting the housing market include low inventory, high interest rates, and buyers becoming more selective due to economic conditions.

Home Prices in Ontario

Considering recent real estate market trends in Ontario, prospective homeowners are facing notable fluctuations. For instance, new homeowners were affected by falling house prices from 2022 to the end of 2023, with cities like Burlington, Markham, Mississauga, and Kitchener experiencing significant drops in single-family home prices. This was also true for homes in Windsor and throughout the top towns in Essex County.

Looking ahead, forecasts point to rising home prices in Ontario. The average house price in the province is in the high $800s, making it the second most expensive after British Columbia.

These market shifts underscore the importance of a strategic, long-term perspective when considering purchasing a property in Ontario.

Ontario Economy vs. Saskatchewan Economy

When comparing the economy in Ontario to Saskatchewan’s head-to-head, it helps to look at the local industries and biggest employers driving each regional economy.

Biggest Employers in Ontario

Online Job Searching

In Ontario, some of the biggest employers include major corporations like Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank Group, and Magna International. These companies offer a wide range of job opportunities in the finance, manufacturing, and technology sectors, among others.

Additionally, Ontario has a significant healthcare sector, with organizations like the University Health Network and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre employing a large number of professionals. 

Educational institutions like the University of Toronto and York University also play a vital role in Ontario's job market, and more rural areas feature different industries; in the Chatham-Essex economy, for example, agriculture is a major industry.

Biggest Employers in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s top employers span various industries. In healthcare, the Royal University Hospital and Saskatoon City Hospital play a significant role, while in the technology sector, ISM and International Road Dynamics lead the way with a substantial workforce.

Agriculture and manufacturing giants such as Nutrien, Viterra Canada, and Bourgault Industries employ thousands. Saskatchewan is also home to Cameco, the world’s largest publicly traded uranium company.

Big Cities in Ontario

When considering a move to one of Ontario’s biggest cities, Toronto, Ottawa, and Windsor are key urban centers with diverse opportunities and lifestyles for newcomers.

As Canada's largest city, Toronto boasts a thriving cultural scene and a bustling economy. Ottawa stands out as the nation's capital with a mix of government employment and vibrant arts and entertainment options. On the other hand, Windsor's proximity to the U.S. border presents unique advantages for those interested in cross-border opportunities and a rich automotive industry presence.

Toronto

Toronto—the most populous city in Canada, the fourth largest in North America, and one of the best cities in Ontario—offers a dynamic urban experience for residents and visitors alike. With a robust business center and a flourishing tech industry, Toronto boasts dozens of amenities.

Despite its high cost of living, Toronto provides a high standard of living, a strong job market, excellent healthcare, and efficient transit. Neighbourhoods like Riverdale, St. Lawrence, and Davenport cater to various lifestyles.

When considering a move to Toronto, weigh the advantages of urban living against factors like traffic congestion and expensive housing.

Ottawa

When considering a move to Ontario, Ottawa stands out as a vibrant city with a unique blend historyand opportunities awaiting you. Ottawa borders Quebec and forms the National Capital Region with Gatineau.

With a metropolitan population of over 1.4 million, it offers a high quality of living and is home to institutions like the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. Ottawa experiences four distinct seasons, including cold winters and hot summers, and the city is known for its green spaces, bike-friendly infrastructure, and bilingual services in English and French.

Dining out in Ottawa can be a wide-ranging experience, with various cuisines to explore and a lively nightlife scene with popular spots on Elgin Street.

Windsor

Windsor is a Great Place to Live in Ontario

For anyone looking to immerse themselves in a vibrant city with a rich history and diverse attractions, Windsor is an enticing option.

Windsor is more affordable than Toronto, with a cost of living below the national average, and the city is conveniently close to Detroit. Popular industries in Windsor include automobile manufacturing, hospitality, and manufacturing, with major employers like Stellantis, Ford, and Caesars Windsor.

Windsor also provides recreational activities, lush golf courses (and the golf course homes that surround them), sandy beaches, a network of bike paths, and attractions like the Rideau Canal and the National Gallery of Canada. Its vibrant nightlife scene, entertainment options, and diverse culinary offerings make it a dynamic place to live.

Best Small Towns in Ontario

When considering the best small towns in Ontario, Chatham-Kent, Erieau, and Wallaceburg stand out as charming options.

Each area offers a unique appeal, from waterfront views to historical charm. These small towns highlight a quieter, more relaxed side of Ontario living.

Chatham-Kent

Nestled in southwestern Ontario and featuring a thriving job market and charming community, Chatham-Kent beckons prospective residents.

This area offers a high quality of life, surrounded by picturesque farmlands, rivers, and Lake Erie to the south and Lake St. Clair to the east, creating a tranquil setting for residents. It also boasts accessible amenities like hospitals, schools, and recreational facilities.

Chatham-Kent is notably more affordable than larger cities in Ontario, blending affordability, natural beauty, and community engagement to make it a desirable place to call home.

Erieau

Erieau, a charming village peninsula on Lake Erie, offers a glimpse into small-town Ontario living at its finest. Locals enjoy lakeside living alongside beaches, the iconic lighthouse pier, and shops like Bayside Brewing Company and Molly & OJs.

Summer months in Erieau are vibrant with events such as the Boulevard of Dreams Car Show and Art on the Boulevard. The area provides opportunities for outdoor activities, including fishing spots, boat launches, and swimming areas. Homes in Erieau typically list from the $400s to $1.5 million.

Erieau Yacht Club offers sailing lessons, racing events, and community programs, while nearby Shrewsbury hosts annual festivals and offers kayak rentals and fitness classes.

Wallaceburg

Wallaceburg is a Great Small Town to Live in Ontario

Located in southwestern Ontario, Wallaceburg stands out as one of the best small towns in the province, offering a blend of scenic beauty, affordable living, and a vibrant community spirit.

Just 25 minutes northwest of Chatham and an hour and a half from Windsor, Wallaceburg boasts various housing options that won't break the bank.

Enjoy amenities like an indoor pool, parks, ice rink, and annual festivals, including the renowned Sydenham Challange Dragon Boat Festival and the Wallaceburg Antique Motor and Boat Outing, one of Ontario’s best car shows. The town also hosts one of the best farmers markets in Chatham-Kent, providing fresh local produce and goods.

With access to healthcare, community centers, and grocery stores, the Wallaceburg community promises a comfortable and convenient lifestyle.

Most Affordable Places to Live in Ontario

If you're looking for affordable places to live in Ontario, consider exploring regions like Southwestern Ontario and Northern Ontario. These areas offer a lower cost of living than major urban centers, making them attractive options for those seeking affordability.

Southwestern Ontario and Northern Ontario provide a mix of small-town charm and natural beauty, presenting a budget-friendly alternative for your new home in Ontario.

Southwestern Ontario

For those considering Ontario’s most affordable cities and targeting the province’s southwest, Tilbury stands out as a promising choice with its proximity to Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. The area offers easy access to Windsor and Detroit, making it a convenient location for commuters.

You'll find a variety of single-family detached homes for sale in Tilbury, with home prices starting in the $200s to $300s, catering to different budget needs. Amenities like the Tilbury Arena, Tilbury Golf Club, and access to Highway 401 add to the appeal of this community.

Whether you're looking for a peaceful setting near the lakes or a place with recreational opportunities, Tilbury is an attractive option for affordable living in Southwestern Ontario.

Northern Ontario

Northern Ontario might be the perfect fit for those looking to relocate from Saskatchewan.

With cities like Greater Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timmins, this region offers a range of recreational activities, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery and year-round attractions.

The housing market in Northern Ontario is notably more affordable compared to southern parts of the province, with scenic properties near lakes and forests.

This area also boasts job opportunities in industries like mining, forestry, construction, and healthcare, making it a promising place for those seeking employment in various sectors while enjoying a more affordable cost of living.

Things to Do When You Arrive in Ontario

Things to Do First Thing When You Move to Ontario

Before you jump into the fun things to do in Ontario, there are a few essential tasks to handle, from registering your car to setting up utilities and applying for a health card.

Taking care of these tasks early on will help you settle in and start enjoying your new life in Ontario without delay.

Car Registration & Driver’s Licence

After arriving in Ontario, remember to register your vehicle and obtain your driver's license promptly to comply with provincial regulations. If you're bringing a vehicle from outside Ontario, head to ServiceOntario to complete the necessary steps.

Pay attention to retail sales tax or HST, with most out-of-province vehicles subject to a 13% tax unless exempt as an Ontario resident. Ensure you have all required documents and meet safety standards for a smooth registration.

Set Up Utilities

To ensure a seamless transition to Ontario, prioritize setting up utilities upon your arrival in the province.

Start by researching electricity and gas providers to choose the best fit for your needs, then contact the utility company to establish service. The Ontario Energy Board website conveniently lists local utility options.

Setting up utilities before the move-in date is crucial to avoid disruptions, additional fees, or complications. If you're moving within or to Ontario, remember to transfer your utilities accordingly to your new location.

Apply For a Health Card (OHIP)

How can you quickly apply for your Ontario Health Card (OHIP) upon your arrival in the province?

To get your OHIP, head to a ServiceOntario center in person. Bring a completed application form and three key documents to prove citizenship, residency, and identity.

Remember, there's no waiting period for OHIP, so it's best to apply as soon as possible. After submitting the application, ServiceOntario will process it, and you'll soon have your Ontario Health Card (OHIP) in hand, granting you access to essential health services in the province.

Explore New Possibilities in Ontario

As you make the move from Saskatchewan to Ontario, prepare for an adventure filled with new opportunities. Whether you're drawn to the bustling cities or the charming small towns near some of Ontario’s best lakes, the province has something for everyone. While there may be cost-of-living differences, the wealth of possibilities Ontario offers will make your next chapter exciting and fulfilling.

If you're ready to move to Ontario, contact Team Goran of RE/MAX CARE Realty at (519) 979-9949 to reach a local real estate agent who can help find your dream Ontario home.

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